Monday, October 15, 2012

The Great Mysteries Part 2

So many mysteries in my life!

Before we dive in, check out this page that shows that no matter the country, everyone loves memes, especially political ones!

Now that you got your bit of real Georgian culture, let me bring up some important questions. 

1. Hunger. Do Georgians get hungry? Do they get full?

I have never heard anyone say "I am not hungry" or ask me if I am hungry. Instead, I only hear "do you want it?" or "Do you want this food?" and people will reply that they do or do not want it. When I say I am full they look at me like I'm being silly. I have seen them eat more than I thought humanly possible and go for half a day not eating anything. What is their concept of hunger?

2. What's with that one TV 9 commercial?

On TV 9 they have these little commercials for the channel ever 15 minutes or so. You know the type, little blips of every day life to make you feel like this channel is just another sweet part of living in Georgia that you will be nostalgic for one day. A birthday party for Grandpa, a dad walking his kids to school, that sort of thing. Then they end with some music and the TV 9 logo and everyone feels all warm and fuzzy inside before they dive back in to covering violence around the world.

One little blurb shows a crowd walking toward some inspiring sight and a little boy pushing through them, desparetely trying to make out what they are looking at. Finally he stops, stacks some TV's on top of each other, and looks out with the crowd at...what?! It never shows you. The sunrise? The future?  An impending alien attack?? I couldn't tell you why, but this commercial drives me insane.

3. When are people too sick to leave home?

Being sick when you are away from home is the worst. Being sick in a culture that conceptualizes sickness differently is even worse. I spent my entire weekend in bed, instead of going to a baby christening with my host family (which probably would have been a lot of fun). Abject misery. 

While I sat there in bed, shivering with a fever, a throat infection that is still making me sound sinister,  obviously miserable, my family was still trying to convince me to come along with them. Why in the world would they want a sad little ball of sickness to come with them? Why would they think I would want to go in that state? Via a translator, I tried to explain I was probably contagious and really couldn't go. They still encouraged me to come. I ended up staying home, but I swear, I could have been covered in a suspicious and serious rash and unable to move my limbs and they would still say "modi!" (Come!) They are either just that welcoming, or just that serious about their baby baptisms. 

So I wonder, when are people considered too sick to go to baptisms/weddings/supras or any other social events? When do Georgians say, "yup, you should stay home"? 

4. Who are the cops pulling over?

In the marshutka from Tbilisi today I saw two different cars being pulled over by the police. But what did they do? As far as I know, other than stopping at red lights, traffic laws don't exist here. The two lane roads usually become three lane. Cars drive on the wrong side of the street just because. I was in a taxi that drove backwards for multiple blocks down a busy city street. People pass each other with impunity and act as if they are playing chicken with the other cars. I don't think there are speed limits.

So what could those drivers possibly have done that would get them pulled over? Expired license plates maybe?

5. Who am I going to marry?

My host family keeps bringing up the fact that I need to get married here in Georgia. I don't know if it's because they want the excuse for a party, a ploy to keep me nearby, or because they are aghast I am still single in my old age. (Yes, 23 is very old to be unmarried here.)  When they say that, I laugh and then ask, "marry who?" They say they don't know but then start discussing it among themselves.

Is this all a joke? A lot of jokes have turned out to be completely true ("Haha we're gonna make you fat!" "Oh, look you gained seven pounds in three weeks!") so it leaves me wondering...are the ladies of the neighborhood searching for my groom even as we speak?

So there you have it, folks. The questions currently keeping me up at night. If anyone has ideas, leave them in the comments!


  1. haha! good stuff, mary ellen. maybe with the eating thing, you could say "i'm satisfied." at least that's what people say in spanish. but it sounds like even that may not work...

    and the traffic/driving thing sounds just like buenos aires. whenever i describe it to people, i usually say "if you can do it without causing a wreck, go ahead."

  2. hmmm...I wonder if the program secretly encourages the host families to attempt matchmaking...?? haha!

  3. lol! love reading these MEL, I feel like I am learning so much... so I know you are learning, fo-real. I like all the eating too. can't believe ur going to Istanbul so jealous, I also read about the Caucasus mountains b/c the fictitious Caspian Mountains came up during a Final Fantasy movie and I googled for it, but found Caucasus instead... ur gonna be there! yay... miss ya & popping in for nightly tea downstairs... love ya